WT, NB and I take off from Ohare on Friday evening on Spirit. We sit down in some rock
hard seats and decide to order some drinks as soon as we can to make the flight more
enjoyable. About 4 Jack and gingers later, we are asking the 45 year olds in the rows
behind us whether they are swedish (turns out they were Polish) and making inappropriate
jokes about Asian-white miscegenation despite the woman in front of us who may or may
not have been offended.

We land and I immediately check my sportsbetting app for lines on the baseball games just
in case we get to a hotel before the west coast games start. While I am checking this, I
decide to go to the boxing section of the app just to see if there are any fights while we are
there. Turns out there is one, the bantamweight championship, on Saturday night at the
Hard Rock. WT and NB are on board and we hop in a cab and head to the Hard Rock box
office to purchase tickets. THe seats we buy are just behind ringside, so we are pleased to
say the least. After purchasing a bottle of Ketel One for about one-tenth of the price that
we will pay for one a couple nights later at XS, we head back to the room, have some red-
bull vodkas and head downstairs to get the night started.

I sit down at a 1-3 NL holdem table in the poker room while WT and NB hit the blackjack
tables. My table is pretty boring, with lots of old guys and little action. I win one hand with
a full house and the rest of them I just manage to bluff these guys off their mediocre
hands on either the flop or turn. I am winning steady money and not really making any
mistakes but the play is very boring. The only interesting thing to note is that I learn from
a guy who used to be a pro horse bettor that the horse betting game is dead now and that
the casino built in Buloxi was a poor attempt at reviving it.

I check with WT and NB to see how they are doing at blackjack and they are winning some
nice money with WT up a few hundred and NB up nearly a cool grand. The dealer, Vatanna
is also a professional "money printer" as WT put it and is just dealing his own bust after
bust. I jokingly say that is I were a sculptor, "I would make a Vatanna bust." The other
players at the table appreciate my bad joke. I play a little more poker and then cash out up
about 300. We decide to grab a quick bite and then head off to Palms.

We get to Palms and purchase an all club pass for $40 which gets us into their three clubs:
Rain, Playboy Club, and Moon. We check out Rain first and walk to the top to get a nice
view of the whole place. Apparently, Pauly D is in the house and every girl I talk to is so
excited that she saw Pauly D. I am throw up in my mouth a little bit after hearing this.
Some no name rapper starts performing and we take this as our cue to head to moon. At
moon, the setup is much better, with a more intimate layout as there is a dance floor, and
then a bar/lounge area in the back, as well as a bar in the front. There is a balcony on
both the first and second floor with a great view of the city, as moon is located on the top
floor. We hang out at moon for a while, and then head to the playboy club which is very
empty. In the bathroom of the club, there are photos from old playboys decorating the
wallpaper. My compliments to the decorator on this one. THe bathroom attendant
instructs us to take some playboy matches as this is the only place in the world where you
can find these.

At about 4AM we decide to leave and WT and I hit the poker tables. The action at the
Palms was a lot more intense than at the mirage, with lots of young guys, and almost every
hand had a straddle. Problem was, I was exhausted at this point and not playing many
hands. At one point, I may have even dozed off for a few minutes. WT and I head back to
the room and catch some sleep.

We wake up around 10AM and head to Treasure Island for their 11AM poker tournament.
THe structure is 37+13, this is a lot more juice for the house than I remember. We are
there a little early, so we head to the sports book and I place a three team parlay on
baseball, betting the Phillies, Giants, and Braves (only because they are playing the Cubs).
WT bets a parlay on a preseason NFL game and the cleveland game. We start the
tournament and there are just under thirty players. I am doing okay and miss a chance at
becoming chip leader when I fold to a guy's preflop all-in, holding 66. It would have been
for most of my chips and I was slightly over the avg chip stack at this point, but would
have flopped a set. Oh, and this was after a player to my left went all-in to start the
raising. After that hand, I call a guys all-in with 4-5 suited as he does not have much left
and the chip leader calls as well. He bets on the flop into an empty side pot and as I hate it
when somebody does this in tournament play, I raise him and he puts me all-in. I call with
a flush draw and gutshot but he has top pait with a better flush draw. I miss and am out.

I meet NB at the mirage pool and it is pretty empty as it had just rained a bit. We order
some frozen drinks and enjoy the scenery as the sun comes out. WT joins us a bit later
and we proceed to do some more people watching. One thing I notice is that there are a
lot of tattoos in this town. It is almost trendy to not have one. I head over to the bar by
the pool as there is shade and the Yankees are playing. I also use this opportunity to check
the scores of the games I bet on. So far the Phils and Giants are doing okay, but the
goddam cubs are beating the braves. The Yankees are dominating and I head back to the
pool only to see some jersey shore looking asshole talking to Nick in what appears to be
some sort of heated exchange. I noticed he was just using a towel on the chair next to
Nick and realize that this was my towel. He was already back in the pool at this point so I
didn't bother to confront him. HOwever, about fifteen minutes later, he comes out of the
pool and grabs the towel as I am standing right next to him. I am not gonna let this one
slide so I say, "Hey, do you mind asking me if you can use that towel before you just go
ahead and pick it up?" I make sure to use some of that "I know you are a fuckface and I
don't like it" tone with him. He looks at me and asks me my name, introduces himself,
shakes my hand, and then nicely asks me if he can use the towel. I was indeed done with
it at this point so I say "Go ahead." That was the end of that.

We go back to the hotel and get ready to go to the fight. We arrive at Hard Rock and head
to our seats. They are not as close as the ticked guy had pointed out, but we are still
content. The fight does not start for about 45 min, so we grab a quick bite at teh
restaurant nearby, and then head to the sportsbook to bet, as this is a fight that nobody
really cares about except for the MExican family in front of us. The line on Mares has now
moved to -280 (it was -200 this morning). I had done a little research before the fight and
they seemed like fairly evenly matched fighters, so I decide to throw 150 on Agbeko and
get +220. I was gonna bet the over on 9.5 rounds, but this line was -500 so I didn't
bother.

We take our seats and as soon as the fight starts, one of the Mares supporters in front of
us will not sit down even as everybody is yelling behind him to "Sit the fuck down!". I move
over a bit so WT and NB can see around this guy, and we watch as Mares pummels Agbeko,
who seems to have no answer for Mares's speed. Mares falls down towards the end of the
round and the ref rules it a knockdown though the instant replay shows it was a slip. THis
would be one of many questionable refereeing instances of the night. Agbeko seems to
pick it up by the third round as he is firing back with some nice counter-punching and
even connecting with some hard rights. It is a very close fight for the rest of the night, and
the ref keeps ignoring Mares's many low blows that he is throwing. THe ref finally does
give a warning by the tenth or so, but then in the 11th, Mares throws a low blow, and the
ref gives Agbeko a standing 8 count. Agbeko's corner rushes the ref and for a minute I
thought I was gonna see him get knocked out. Anyway, the fight ends in the 12th with
two judges scoring it 115-111 Mares and one judge scoring it a draw so Mares wins by
majority decision. The MExicans in front of us go crazy even though I am sure they know
MAres did not deserve to win this fight, and WT, NB and I head to the Hard Rock floor to do
some gambling. I sit down with WT at the poker table and I play some of the worst poker
of my life at the 1-3 table. WT is playing well and definitely makes a statement by sitting
down with the table max of 300.

I manage to somehow leave the table with 20 more than I started with and we decide to hit
the craps tables. I have never played craps before but the dealers were very
accommodating in explaining the bets to me. I start out just betting the pass line with the
min 10 dollar bet and then 20 or 30 behind. After what seems like only five minutes, I am
already down over 100 dollars. Craps is not looking to be as much fun as everybody had
said.

Then, nirvana starts playing and the money just pours in. First, its a tall slim guy in a
sports jacket and he hits about three points before crapping out. Who knew that heart-
shaped box brought on such luck? Then, a large woman in a green shirt starts to roll and
"Losing my religion" by R.E.M. blasts over the speakers and it is here that I discover the
come bet, the most exciting and seemingly, the best bet on the table. I manage to win a
bunch of these in addition to some pass line bets and am quickly up about 150 or so.
There is a group of attractive girls next to us who are getting in on the action now as well.
Somehow, when WT and I roll, we never manage to hit a point, but everybody else is
working for us. I then declare out lout, "Craps is so much better than poker, when I am
winning money, it's nice, but I just can't get that excited." The dealer says, "THat is what I
say to my wife."

It's about midnight and we decide to move over to the other craps table as the original
good roller in the sportsjacket had left at this point and the girls had moved over as well.
THis turns out to be a great idea, as the table we were on broke up only about ten minutes
later and we come in just as this bald guy hit 5 different points. He had bet the fire bet and
got 250 to 1 on it as well. It's about 12:30 so we decide to head to Vanity where we have a
table booked through this guy that WT knows whom we'll call Joey. We head to the velvet
rope and JOey comes down to meet us after we mention his name to the bouncer. He looks
like he could be in the mob as he has greased back hair and acne scars on his face. HE
leads us to our table and our server comes out who is a very attractive blonde. There were
a couple of people hanging around our table and I did not mind them too much, but pretty
soon after they arrive, they begin to smoke and I politely ask them to leave.

I do a few quick laps around the club to scout out the talent. WT runs to the boy's room
and when he comes back, he proudly exclaims, "I was just pissing next to Agbeko!" A bit
later I am talking to some UNLV girls and am spitting game that was so smooth it would
have floated on top of water. They had somewhere they needed to be unfortunately and
were literally about to leave as I came up to them. I know this was not a lie, because the
girl I was talking to was almost left at the club by her friends after I had only been chatting
her up for a couple minutes.

I manage to bring a couple girls from a bachelorette party over: a blonde and a brunette
with dark skin. They turn out to be a lot of fun, and they do briefly leave our table to go
back to their original party, but end up coming back with the bachelorette and one of her
friends. I guess we were more fun than their other table. I am spending a lot of time with
the blonde and I am pretty sure she is in to me, but when I try to kiss her she says, "I can't
kiss you."
I ask if she has a boyfriend and she says, "Kinda."
Well, what's his name? I respond.
It doesn't matter.

i am a bit disappointed to say the least but continue to hang out with her for a bit until it
is about 4AM and time to leave. Nick then tells me that her friend told him she was a
lesbian. I did not believe this at first, I guess my ignorant self thought that lesbians could
never be that hot. Anyway, we leave the club and WT and I go back to the craps tables.

The only problem is, they only have two open and they are packed tightly. I find about
three other people that also want to play and ask the pit boss to open a new table, but he
tells me they do not have the staff for that. A bunch of people at one of the tables were
not even gambling and one of them told be he doesn't gamble. NOt gambling in Vegas is
like going to a strip club and eating the food with your back to the stage. Anyway, we
manage to find a couple spots at an open table and proceed to gamble. This table is a lot
of fun and soon after a really drunk guy comes by with a black friend of his whom he calls
"the Irishman." The Irishman keeps asking if they are going to kick his friend out and the
dealers keep asking the Irishman why he is betting for his friend. The Irishman bluntly
answers, "Because he is too drunk to gamble."

Then, a confident looking Asian man comes to the table, throws down his ID and says,
3000 please. HE only stays for about twenty minutes and it looks like he made about two
grand. After he leaves, I ask the dealer who he was. He tells me his name, which I did not
recognize and I ask, "Is he a poker player or something?" The dealer looks at the other
dealer and asks "Does he play poker?"
"No I don't think so."
"He is actually more well-known for blackjack."

THe dealer looks at me for about thirty seconds and when he can see that I still genuinely
do not know who this guy is, he says, "You ever see the movie 21?"
"Yeah," I respond.
"Well, he was one of the MIT blackjack guys that the movie was based upon."
I cross off 'have a drink with a D-list celebrity' off the vegas checklist.

We play for a bit longer and I run to the bathroom to drop the kids off. When I come out,
there is a guy in a Yankee jersey by the sink. He leaves and I see a cell phone with a wad
of 20s on top of it. I look at it for a few seconds and then the guy comes back and I ask
him if he left his phone. He grabs it very quickly and runs out. When I go back to the
craps table, he approaches me and accuses me of stealing 20 from him.
"I counted 120 when I came in here, and now there is 100 with a bunch of ones."
"Look man, I didn;t touch your money."
WT comes in and gets my back, "Look man he didn;t take your money, and if you have a
problem, take it up with security, they got cameras in there."
The pit boss comes over and gets security to speak with the guy, at which point he sits
down by the slot machines for a few minutes and then leaves.

We are just about finished playing, and I am up about 250, mainly from the come bets, and
WT is down a about 100 or so. He hits roulette for a while and starts acting like a madman,
betting and then doubling down, and then reaching for more cash and betting more.
Unfortunately, all the rolls were red black red black in that sequence so after every win,
the double down lost. The roulette guy kept announcing the bets, and the pit boss came
over to watch, but WT did not get any comps, as you might have expected.

We go back to the Mirage, have some potato Latkes at the Carnegie deli and then catch a
few winks. We grab a quick bite and head over to Rehab at the Hard Rock.

Let me start by saying Rehab is a perfect exhibition of Social Darwinism. While there are
probably a fair share of trust fund babies there, the majority of people there are beautiful
and successful. A quick snapshot will give you the very best of the human race. We get
our bracelets and pay the fifty dollar entry fee and then grab some drinks from the bar.
THey come in large (I'm guessing 32 oz.) souvenir rehab containers and cost $28. We then
find a spot under the bridge to enjoy our refreshments. After about an hour or so, I notice
a troll under the bridge. I should have known that trolls live under bridges before deciding
to camp out there. She comes up to me and says, "Can I tell you something?"
I nod my head.
"You have beautiful curly hair."
"Thank you."
"And you have the most beautiful blue eyes."
"Thank you, you are very flattering."
She keeps talking, but as I am not really listening and paying more attention to the girl
across the pool with a 21st century tramp stamp (located along the side of the body by the
rib cage). I hear something about a birthday and then am asked, "Guess how old I am?"
"I don't wanna play that game," I respond.
"Oh come on, just guess!"
Normally I would lowball here, but since I am not really keen on continuing to speak with
the troll, I say "Thirty-three."
She gives me a look and says, "I'm 25!" and then makes her way back to the other side of
the bridge.
Looking back upon it, there was no way this girl was 25, she probably was 29 and just
wanted me to feel bad, which did not work.
Just after she leaves, NB says, "MAn, that girl wanted to sit on you."

WT and I decide to make it over to the craps table. I am up to roll and roll about thirteen
irrelevant rolls before finally hitting my point. I then roll two eyos (elevens) in a row and
make some other people at the table quite a bit of money. THere is a guy at teh end of the
table in an affliction shirt and has about fifteen grand in front of me. He is loving me and
throws a 100 dollar chip my way to bet on the eyo. Of course, I miss, but a point has not
been established yet anyway. I manage to hit 4 separate points, and then one of the
original four again before crapping out and I am up about 120 at this point. There is a guy
to the right of affliction tshirt who is wearing a Michael Jackson glove. THey make him
remove it before he rolls (what, did he put lotion on the glove or something). We stay a bit
longer and just before we leave I run into a friend, RT from college. We chat for a bit and
then he starts hitting on an ugly 45yo at the table next to me. She is with a fat guy who is
so drunk that he is betting with WTs chips while WT was in the bathroom. We sort out the
mess and decide to grab a proper meal before we head out. After all, we have not had one
good meal since we took off.

I make reservations for 6:30 at Tao. We walk in and take our seats in the back dining
room. THe place has nice decor, with chinese characters along the ceiling and pictures of
Thai buddhists and even a mini version of the sleeping buddha in Bangkok. We order a
bottle of Sake, and some Edamame to start. They separate their sakes into three
categories: we choose the smoothest one. It goes down easy, but still has its own
character to it. We also order some dumplings and duck spring rolls. Both are delicious.
For the main dish I order swordfish. THe waiter tells me good choice, but I am later
informed that they are out of swordfish. I order chilean sea bass instead and am very
impressed. I have not had a piece of fish this good in probably a year. The bill comes and
we decide to play a little credit card roulette. I tell the waiter to get a napkin and shuffle
our cards inside it and then draw our cards out until the last one, which is the card that he
will use to pay the bill. THis is the proper way to play credit card roulette, not with the first
card, as some people may know. WT's card is drawn first, followed by mine. NB ends up
with the 300 dollar bill.

We head back to the room and take a quick nap before heading to XS where we are meeting
one of NB's friends, who just got to Vegas that day. We are very slow getting up but
manage to make it out to XS not before playing some Bloodhound gang music though. We
arrive at Encore and have to wait in a small line to get in. THe line for people without table
reservations looks about an hour long at least and it is only 11:30. We get in and are
greeted by a very attractive bottle girl in a swimsuit (I guess it was a pool party theme).
The table is located on the second floor overlooking the pool and gambling area. We meet
NB's friend SF, and his buddy, JG, who is celebrating his recent passing of the bar exam.
Around midnight some more people arrive and we are soon being accompanied by some
girls from Canada. One of them is extremely attractive and is of Egyptian descent. I speak
with a cute brunette with glasses and plant a small seed before heading over to play
blackjack. I throw down 100 dollars and tell the dealer I am only playing one hand. I get
two 7s, and she has a six showing. Well, I guess I'm gonna put 200 dollars on this one as I
split the 7s. I get a 5 on one of them and a 3 on the other. I don;t play blackjack very
much and forget to double down on the ten and end up hitting a queen for 20. THe dealer
busts and I win 200 and throw get change so I can throw her a tip. The British guy next to
me compliments me on my one and done style of play and I then turn around and start
talking to some very well-dressed Europeans behind me. There is a blonde with her
boyfriend, her sister and her boyfriend's friend. SHe is actually quite attractive and I am
very surprised to learn that they are from Ireland as I do not believe I have ever met an
attractive Irish girl. WT sits down and sure enough, the WT gambling machine starts
churning. I do not want to disturb it, so I head back to the table.

At the table I chat the glasses girl up a bit more, and slowly work to be a bit more
aggressive. NB is spending a lot of time with one of her friends and WT and I start making
lines on whether or not he will go back to a room with her. THe line opens at -250, then
moves to -300 and then back down to -220 before eventually closing at -800. This is for
betting on NB's success of course. Glasses girl is about to light a cigarette and since I hate
the smell of smoke, I try and kiss her before she lights. She is a bit hesitant, and I learn
that she is engaged. HOwever, this does not stop her from still kissing me on the mouth,
but with no tongue. I will never understand women. SHe is very nice bout it, and even
agrees to walk with me around the club and act as my wingman. Of course, I take this as
an opportunity to hit on her more. She does not seem to mind but sees right through me
and ensures me that I will not hook up with her tonight. We are about to go back to the
table when I see a blonde girl sitting by herself. I devise a plan where I will kiss glasses
girl in front of the blonde, and then glasses girl will slap me and walk away, at which point
blonde will notice and take to my side. Somehow, this plan made a lot more sense in my
head at the time, and not as idiotic as it probably sounds here. I take glasses girl by the
hand, spin her around, kiss her, and then she slaps me and walks away. Unfortunately,
lonely blonde girl was looking at her phone the whole time and I say, "Did you see that,
that girl just slapped me?"
Without looking up, she says, "You probably deserved it."
"No I didn't!"
"Well I don;t care, so fuck off!"
I take this as my cue to leave so I go back to glasses girl and we return to the table. At this
point it is about 4AM, and I figure she really is engaged and just decide to head back to the
room with NB.

We wake up on Monday and head to the MIrage buffet which was very disappointing. We
quickly play, "Which girl in the room do you think is most likely to take it in the back
door?" and then walk to Bellagio. Wes has to drop the kids off and then I all of a sudden
feel a force that is pulling me. I don't know where it is coming from and just start walking
out of the Bellagio. We walk through Cosmopolitan and then head to Aria. I walk to the
poker room but by the time we get there it is already 2PM and our flight departs at 3:30.
WT calls us and tells us to hurry our asses up. We walk as fast as we can and make it back
to the Mirage around 2:25. We grab our bags from the bell desk and hop in a cab. At this
point it is 2:32. We end up at the airport around 2:46 and Wes jumps out first to check in.
He cannot check in on the screen as it is too late and when he goes to the desk, they tell us
the flight is closed as it is 45 minutes before take off. We head over to Southwest to
purchase one way tickets as the next Spirit flight does not leave until the next morning.
The lady at the desk keeps telling us that if we were on a Southwest flight, they would
never close the flight to us and be sure to give us a shot at making it to the gate. I assure
her that she does not need to sell us on hating spirit. We manage to get one-way tickets
for about 450 or so and NB and I agree to pick up WTs tickets as he was ready to go at 2PM
and had to wait for us. I blame the mysterious force that was sucking me towards the Aria.

We take our seats on the flight and make it back to Chicago in one peace. When we land,
we are serenaded by one of the flight attendants with a Christmas style jingle about
southwest. We hop in a cab and return home.

Looking forward to the next trip.